The Festival of Lights
“Until the last moments of his life, Mahavira [of Jainism] inspired many to seek world peace through the establishment in inner peace, and he encouraged people to realize their Divine Nature. For 30 years he traveled throughout India to spread his message. At the age of 72, on the day of Diwali (the Festival of Lights) in the town of Pawa Puri, Mahavira ended his journey in the world while in the state of deep meditation and attained Nirvana.” (Swami Sant Sevi Ji Maharaj, Harmony Of All Religions)
“While Divali is popularly known as the “Festival of Lights”, the most significant spiritual meaning is “the awareness of the Inner Light”.
“Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of this inner Light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one’s True Nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent Reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (inner joy or peace).
“The gunas are the underlying forces or tendencies which one needs to have unaffected, direct relation with in order to find effectiveness and righteousness in life: they are lines of potential and illuminate thought and action, thus the inner meaning of Diwali being the Festival of Lights.
“Deepavali celebrates this through festive fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship. While the story behind Dipavali varies from region to region, the essence is the same – to rejoice in the inner Light (Atman) or the underlying Reality of all things.” (Wikipedia)